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MassGOP’s Statement on the Senate’s Supplemental Appropriations Bill

MassGOP’s Statement on the Senate’s Supplemental Appropriations Bill

March 21, 2024


Today, the Senate voted on a supplemental appropriations bill aimed at funding the state’s emergency shelter program. The bill gives Governor Healey unfettered access to draw down nearly all of the state’s “Transitional Escrow Account” to pay for the ongoing migrant crisis.


Originally designated by the state to mitigate the strain caused by the loss of COVID-19-related federal relief, this fund is essential for sustaining vital municipal programs. The proposed bill will enable the Governor to intermittently withdraw funds from this roughly $1.07 billion fund “without further appropriation,” representing an effective punting of the legislative process to the executive branch at a time of dire fiscal strain with previously-unforeseen costs mounting by the day.


Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr provided comment on the bill stating, “In the face of declining revenues, increasing expenses, and economic uncertainty, this bill abandons our responsibility for appropriating funds, and sets the stage for the depletion of a transitional escrow account that could well be needed to support important priorities like local schools, roads and bridges, and police and fire protection. It does so to put funding on auto – pilot for an unsustainable course to a growing crisis.”


Senate Republicans put forward 26 pragmatic amendments, aimed at enhancing the bill with the dual purpose of addressing the migrant shelter crisis and ensuring accountability in the allocation of approximately $773 million in taxpayer funds. Regrettably, but predictably, Democrats voted against these proposals. These amendments encompassed measures such as:


  • Amendment 14: Requires a competitive bidding process for providing food through emergency housing assistance.

  • Amendment 15: Proposes implementing a six-month residency requirement for eligibility in the right to shelter program.

  • Amendment 17: Ensures that any expenditure outlined in the bill must receive legislative approval before the funds can be utilized, thereby preventing the office of the Governor from having unilateral authority over spending.

  • Amendment 49: Protects long standing residents by prioritizing eligibility for the right to shelter program based on the length of time individuals have resided in the Commonwealth.

  • Amendment 50: Barred those convicted or charged with violent felonies from being eligible for emergency housing assistance.


Amy Carnevale, Chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party provided comment stating, “The amendments the republican caucus proposed were sensible; they directly confronted the migrant crisis, and they protected long standing residents. Moreover, they would have guaranteed accountability in the proper allocation of funds within this bill. Without those amendments, this spending package only diverts funds away from state and municipal programs, and further exacerbates the migrant crisis.”